Monday, 10 April 2017

Things I Took for Granted Living in the UK.

It's been six months since I moved back to Australia, and as someone who was born and grew up in England (with a short stint in Australia aged 16 & 17), I never really realized just how good we have it over there until I moved here as an adult. The United Kingdom is a pretty special place. Don't get me wrong, I love Sydney and Australia and am SO happy I'm living here now, but there are a few things I definitely took for granted before that I thought I'd share with you...

I know that the large majority of my readers are from the UK (and the US, hey guys!), so if you're feeling disenchanted by life in England and are feeling a little jealous by all my dreamy blue Instagram photos, maybe this will help you appreciate the good parts of England ;)

1. The NHS

I actually stopped taking the NHS for granted last year when I ended up in the emergency room and had the best medical care I've ever had in my life. But moving to Australia has just heightened my love for our National Health Service. In Australia they have Medicare, but despite Medicare you still have to pay hundreds of dollars for vaccines (two travel vaccines recently cost me $100), and a crazy amount for prescriptions. My daily asthma inhaler that lasts me one month, used to cost me £8 in the UK ($16), in Australia it costs me $39.

2. Instant Bank Transfers & ATM Fees

In England you can send money from your bank account to another bank account, online, and that money will appear immediately in the other account. In Australia, it takes three working days for that money to reach the other account. THREE DAYS. An international transfer takes up to five days. So if I transfer money from my main current account, to my secondary current account, to then transfer that money from my secondary account to my British account, it takes over a week to do this. Thank goodness for Transferwise! 

Also it costs $2.50 to withdraw money from an ATM (cash machine). 

3. The Proximity to Europe and the US

I always knew this would effect me when I moved, especially as I used to fly regularly to Europe and the USA for weekend trips. When I moved to Australia I assumed I would be able to replace Europe with the South Pacific Islands. Oh how wrong was I. The flights to the South Pacific Islands are not only the same price as flying to Asia, but there are only 2-3 direct flights per week at crazy hours of the day, making weekend trips impossible. God bless EasyJet and their multiple flights per day to every major European city.

4. The Cost of Flights

As above. Flights to the South Pacific are around $800...£500. For a 3 hour flight. Not only that but flights to Asia (around 6-7 hours), are the same price as flying to Asia from the UK (a 14-16 hour flight). Even domestic flights between Sydney and Perth can cost as much as $800 return for an economy ticket. Luckily there are regular sales which brings the prices down to a more reasonable $300 return (£200). 

5. Opening Hours

Even when I lived here nearly ten years ago this one shocked me, but silly me assumed things would have moved on and, ya know, changed, since then. Oh hell no. Shops still close at 5pm. Cafes still close at 4pm every day. No popping into Topshop or Zara after work (unless it's a Thursday), no doing your food shop after work, and no grabbing a quick cup of tea or sandwich from a cafe after work. It makes shopping on the weekends an absolute nightmare because everyone else who works full-time is doing the same thing because it's the only time they can go!

Oh, and forget about ever going to the bank or post office. They close at 4pm weekdays and most are closed on weekends (a couple of them open early on Saturday mornings). 

6. Nightlife

Those of you who know me and have been reading here for a while, will know how much I love to party and go to nightclubs. Sydney has lockout laws. This means every club and bar has to close at 2am unless they're a live music venue, and last entry is at midnight. Gone are the days when the girls and I would go for dinner then go to a club at midnight, walk out at 5am and go to VQ for food. You do that you only get two hours of dancing. 

Also they don't really have proper nightclubs here with tables and bottles and VIP areas. The clubs here aren't pitch black with multi-coloured lights and a DJ playing pumping tunes. I know a lot of people hate those types of places, but I really love them. Like really love them. I miss my London clubs a lot, and when I'm back in the UK in July I'm probably gonna be out most nights making the most of them!

7. Lack of Cakes

This is a very personal thing, but I really bloody love cake. Australians don't really do cake. Not those big slices of cake you get in every cafe in England; carrot cake, lemon drizzle cake, chocolate fudge cake, red velvet cake, victoria sponge cake. Forget it. The cafes here only sell banana bread, muffins, brownies, cookies, and flapjacks. Also their cupcakes are terrible. The past coupla weeks I've really been missing Lola's. Also the lack of cake has made me bake my own...which means I eat the entire cake in a week instead of having one treat slice a month.

8. The Politics

I know this is a weird one with Britain in the midst of Brexit and everyone up in arms about how awful our politicians are. But. At least our politicians in the UK can't be questioned over their human rights and aren't keeping refugees imprisoned on an island in the middle of the pacific ocean that has been likened to a concentration camp.

Oh, and also at least they're not denying climate change and refusing to do anything about the bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef. Srsly. Wtf.

9. No Radiators

This one sounds super silly. But because of Australia's climate the houses don't have radiators or double glazing. The houses are poorly insulated and as such energy is crazy expensive. The issues with not having radiators though, is trying to dry clothing. A lot of my clothes can't go in the tumble dryer, and as we only had six days out of thirty-one with no rain last month, you can't leave the drying rack outside because there's a high risk it will rain and they'll get all wet again.

So you have to keep the drying rack inside and without radiators and with the crazy humidity, it takes days for clothing to dry, which then results in it having a gross musty damp smell. Also my leather shoes grew mould on them and I had to throw them out because they just couldn't dry after getting soaked in a downpour.

On the plus side...

Apart from all that, Sydney is awesome! The public transport is way cheaper than London (but lets not talk about the cost of housing), the public transport is more reliable, I live closer to the beach than I did back home, the pay is higher, the lifestyle is far more relaxed, the food is amazing! I'm loving testing out numerous different restaurants, bars, and settling in to life in Australia. I'm heading back to Perth this week and still have to pinch myself that it's now only a 4 hour flight to go visit instead of 24 hours! And let's face it, on one of those sunny days, you just can't beat a day at Bondi with this view...

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  1. Ahh even though Australia is amazing I can see how you miss stuff from home. And flight costs are insane!

  2. May I suggest a sneaky trip to NZ or three to ally those blues! :)

  3. Charlie Elliott10/04/2017, 11:20

    My friends in Australia always say that they miss sandwiches. Just the ones that you can pop into a shop and grab for lunch like in M&S, and I actually really noticed it both times I've visited Australia too!

  4. Oh my goodness YES. I miss M&S and their sandwiches so much! The Metro Woolworths supermarket near my office does packaged sandwiches, but they are truly awful. I miss Pret loads as well. If M&S and Pret came to Sydney I would be SO happy haha.

    C x

  5. Haha, already planning one in October ;)

  6. I know, I still can't get over the crazy flight costs! So insane considering they're so close!

    C x

  7. I didn't know half of this - so weird the little differences. Beach vs no cake... tricky!

  8. This was great for me to read! I keep hearing all these wonderful things from people who have made the move from London to Australia but never hear anything about the downsides! The cost of flying is probably the biggest thing for me... it still sounds amazing though, I'd love to live in Aus for a year or two :) x

  9. Still pretty awesome to be here and you can always go back to the best country in the world! I'm mega missing Indian restaurants! Cheap, and tasty just not here!! Medicare is actually pretty good here for us British, I used it after been rushed into hospital and lucky for us its free, thankfully, otherwise i'd be screwed!

    Supermarkets do close at 11pm too, so thats good, but still why no 24 hours Aus?????!!! Whatcha playing at???!

    Check out my website where I tell it how it is with my travel experiences to inspire you to travel the world! Also tips on saving and making money to fund your travels! Enjoy

  10. I do wish our shops were shut on Sundays still... like the old days!

  11. An interesting post and a great reason as to why you miss the UK, it's a great place to live that's for sure and the NHS is a blessing. I haven't visited Australia before but I do hear such amazing things, the beaches look so stunning and one reason why I could happily see myself jetting off there one day.

    Laura xo

  12. The Sunday Mode17/09/2017, 07:37

    Found this interesting to read because I live in Aus but I'd love to move to London sometime in the next few years- so I felt like this was arming me for that a bit! Also I don't know what the housing is like in Sydney but I live in Melbourne and my house and all my friends houses are really well insulated, I think it just depends!

    Julia // The Sunday Mode

  13. I pretty much had the same list of things I took for granted about the UK when I moved to NZ. The UK is pretty great!

  14. Yep! You don't realise how much of a good thing sonethsom is until you leave it! You didn't even mention the insane drink and food prices!



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